How can you use data to your benefit? When it comes to sales, it’s about gathering facts and statistics on every aspect of the sale, then using that information to bring about improvements in the system and, ultimately, an increase in sales. In this blog, we’re going to examine how this is put into practice.
What is sales tracking?
Sales tracking is the act of collecting verifiable metrics at each step of the journey in a sales transaction. This covers everything from the popularity of products to customer behavior to the performance of sales staff.
When done right, data can be used to get an in-depth view of an operation, an overview of the entire process that shows where the system is working and where improvements can be made. Having that insight is invaluable.
Sales tracking broken down
Sales tracking can be divided into the following areas:
Establishing data points
For a sales outfit, data points will typically be collected from marketing software, accounting software, and the customer-support department.
Examples of good sources of data are:
- Marketing emails sent,
- Calls made,
- Meetings with customers,
- The time taken to convert a lead to a sale,
- Success rate of conversion from lead to a sale,
- The time taken to complete a sales cycle,
- Open leads,
- Closed leads, and
- Customer feedback.
Analyzing relevant data
Before the information gathered from the data points can be put to good use, it has to be cleaned, or scrubbed. That’s basically removing files that can’t be used, like those that are corrupted, incomplete, old and irrelevant, or duplicates. When this has been done, a clear picture is left of performance at every area of the company. From that, the data can be analyzed. This analysis lets a manager know where more effort is needed to bump-up sales, and where more streamlining is needed in the organization.
It’s advisable, and advantageous, for every department to be given access to the reports generated from this analysis. That includes marketing, sales, and IT. After all, a company can improve only if all the departments work together.
Formulating a plan for improvement
In the end, it’s all about closing more sales and increasing the bottom line. With that in mind, when underperforming areas of an organization are uncovered, new procedures can be put in place to turn them around. For instance, if the data show that email conversion rates are not good or decreasing, perhaps the wording of that e-marketing campaign can be changed.
Customer feedback is another ripe area for data mining. An accepted part of online sales, feedback lets a company know when they’re doing things right, and when they’re not. By harnessing these reviews, categorizing them, and examining them, patterns can be addressed. Improving customer service is a path to more satisfied customers and more sales.
Six ways in which sales tracking can increase your profitability
Identifying problem areas
When the data from sales tracking clearly shows an underperforming or weak area in an organization, an area that’s preventing the system from working at full capacity, management can step in and beef it up. While that may sound simplistic, without the right data from sales tracking, an inefficient department – or section of a department – might slip through the cracks. Sales tracking can pinpoint that exact point where things are not working as they could.
Gaining real-time visibility
Sales-tracking software gives you access to every part of the sales process in real time. This real-time visibility means that glitches and underperforming areas can be highlighted and addressed instantly. For instance, if a prospect that starts the buying process by placing items in an online cart cancels the transaction before completion, you’ll know instantly, and may be able to rescue the sale. It could be that this can be done by addressing a complaint or talking directly to the buyer.
Seeing how your sales employees are doing
Since the number of sales employees complete is often key to their bonuses and commissions, tracking this number is crucial for them and you. Sales data that show low performance for an employee could give you reason to retrain or adjust staffing. Additionally, data may be used to craft incentive programs for your employees.
Getting the most out of your company’s resources
By resources we mean material, labor, and capital. Sales tracking can let you know, in real time, that they’re being used optimally with the least amount of waste. Sales tracking can show you:
- Whether computers, conference rooms, and storage facilities are being made the best use of,
- Whether your sales personnel are bringing in the expected number of customers, and
- Whether the capital you’ve invested in inventory and other assets is being used to its maximum advantage.
Improving customer satisfaction
Sales tracking can lead to satisfied customers because it can identify issues they may have and address them. For instance, if the data reveal a low conversion rate for some items, you can try to identify the reason customers are rejecting those items. It all comes down to having happy customers, because if they’re happy, they’ll be repeat buyers and give both good reviews and good word of mouth.
Honing targeted marketing
Targeted marketing is when a specific group of people identified as being most likely to buy something are selected for a particular advertisement for it. Data from your website and previous sales can be used to target specific customers with items that are similar to their previous purchases. On a more localized level, sales tracking lets a company know which products are in demand and which customers are gravitating toward them. Holiday items are a good way to illustrate this. In the lead-up to Thanksgiving or Black Friday, you’ll want to target U.S. residents only for discounts. It would be pointless to market to anyone else.
Customer relationship management (CRM) software is specially designed for targeted marketing.
Final thoughts on sales tracking
When sales are tracked and the data collected analyzed, performance of a company can increase as more customers buy more.